City & State’s “Candidate College” draws who’s who of Western New York politicians and media for its faculty
On June 16 a host of heavy hitters in local politics, some of the state’s top campaign strategists, and a roomful of current and aspiring candidates converged on the YWCA of Western New York for City & State’s first-ever event in Buffalo.
The all-day nonpartisan “Candidate College” was intended to teach citizens of all backgrounds, ages and political beliefs how to mount a serious bid for elected office by providing an honest, educated and unvarnished view of the current state of electoral politics and illuminating the pitfalls that often ensnare first-time candidates.
The event, which began with a video greeting from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and introductory remarks from former State Sen. Mary Lou Rath, consisted of five separate panel discussions with real-world experts in the field, each concentrating on a different aspect of campaign craft, from fundraising to getting out the vote and everything in between.
A panel of local elected officials, including State Sen. Mark Grisanti, Syracuse Common Councilor at Large Helen Hudson and Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, explained how they successfully won their seats. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul also stopped by to share her experience on the campaign trail.
The media panel, which was moderated by City & State Editor Morgan Pehme, featured Margaret Sullivan, the editor in chief of the Buffalo News, Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly, and longtime local television reporter–turned–current candidate for Erie County comptroller, Stefan Mychajliw, talking about how journalists cover races and what candidates need to do to get the attention of the press.
Among the event’s other prominent presenters and moderators were Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner, national political consultant Roger Stone, Red Horse Strategies founding partner Doug Forand, Prime New York’s Jerry Skurnik, Erie County Republican Party chair Nick Langworthy and former Deputy County Executive Carl Calabrese.
A number of notable students also attended the training session, anxious to learn new campaigning skills or brush up on old ones, including Perrysburg Town Court Justice Lori Dankert, Administrative Law Judge Paul V. Crapsi Jr. and Bernie Tolbert, the former special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI, who is widely rumored to be mulling a challenge to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
City & State’s “Candidate College” was cosponsored by the New York Policy Forum, the Partnership for the Public Good, New York Civic, and the YWCA of Western New York. The Buffalo event was the second in a series of Candidate Colleges that City & State will be staging across New York. If you are interested in cosponsoring a “Candidate College” with City & State in your region, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Artvoice, Bernie Tolbert, Buffalo, Buffalo News, Byron Brown, Candidate College, Carl Calabrese, City & State, Common Cause, Doug Forand, Erie County, Geoff Kelly, Helen Hudson, Jerry Skurnik, Kevin Hardwick, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lori Dankert, Margaret Sullivan, Mark Grisanti, Mary Lou Rath, Morgan Pehme, New York Civic, New York Policy Forum, Nick Langworthy, Partnership for the Public Good, Paul V. Crapsi Jr., Perrysburg, Prime New York, Red Horse Strategies, Stefan Mychajliw, Susan Lerner, Western New York, YWCA of Western New York
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